I want to talk about my abortion. I want to be open. I want to be honest.
Abortion cannot be simplified into regret or no regret. Those words glide along the surface of what we choose to say after the fact. We fall into those categories, and then we become statistics. Our names and our stories confined into a single number.
We turn our backs on the narratives that do not fit alongside our own. We claim that people who admit regret are not important enough to listen to.
But that’s oversimplifying something so complex that even after having gone through it, I struggle to understand.
No one prepares you for what comes after. No one tells you that you’ll be counting the months until what would have been a due date (if you had an early procedure). No one tells you you’ll wonder about names and features and gender. That you’ll see babies and think she would have looked just like that.
It’s been almost three years and I still think about it. I still mourn. Tell myself I have not lost anything. Tell myself I did lose something. Or someone. This shapeless, nameless, lifeless part of myself. A part of its own self.
And the senselessness in these words, this is a part of my narrative. My best friend sat beside me at every appointment, came to see me as I lay delirious in bed, bleeding. And later, I stood by her bedside as she pushed life out of herself. I heard her groans rip into a scream. And I cried when I saw that small girl-child, with a face just like her mother’s.
But I can’t tell my friend about how detached I felt from her. About how angry I was, jealous, confused. Why could she go through with this and I couldn’t? Why was I the weak one with nothing to hold after everything was over?
I am not the mother of a dead child. I am a woman who had an abortion. I cannot talk about morning sickness. I cannot talk about wanting to reject food I used to like. I cannot talk about how I held my stomach without thinking when I first found out. I cannot grieve like a mother. I am not allowed these things.
I can post all I want. I can write all I want. I can claim this experience, but only the part that suits what everyone wants to hear. On both ends of the spectrum.
I want to talk about my abortion. I want to share my story. I refuse to be confined any longer.